There is likely to be music that you associate with the major moments of your life. Of loves, of family, of celebrations, of times living in places, of holidays, of long commutes to the office even. It will usually perform like a musical glove - encapsulating whatever is going on with you in an easily accessible and recallable form.
Seven years ago I heard a new album, but it didn't resonate with anything that I was currently doing in my life. I was busy running a company in London. Life was filled with doing my never-ending best to please clients, shareholders and staff. And in quiet moments in my London flat I would sit at the piano. It was here that I first heard the music. The trouble was that it only existed in my own head.
It was like falling in love. No amount of rational thought could possibly justify it, but I knew at that moment, in my gut, that everything must change. I had to make the music. I had that scary 'sick' feeling when you know that there is no choice. Regardless of the outcome, I must commit myself to something that would change the course of my life.
On the west coast of Scotland is a magical island. Home to my ancestors for five generations, the Isle of Jura is a wild and beautiful place. If you've heard of it it's likely because of its two most famous exports - the whisky and George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, written whilst Orwell was living on Jura. Oh, it's also where the prime minister, David Cameron, sometimes comes for his holidays, and where the KLF once burnt a million quid.
The human population is around two hundred. The deer population around 6,000. Twenty-five miles long and five miles at its widest point and pretty bare in terms of a human imprint. Just one small village, some even smaller 'townships', and a few brave single houses. Until I realised that it should be my home, our family's tiny crumbling stone cottage in the township of Knockrome had, in my lifetime, sat empty for ten months of the year. No electricity, no mod cons. Just stone walls, a tin roof, a few rotting timber joists. And made just habitable by us when visiting on our annual family holidays.
That evening, at the piano in my Islington flat, the notes that came out were from Jura. I can't really explain how or why, I know it probably sounds barking mad. It was like the island was calling me saying 'I'm here, I've always been here, so come if you need me'.
Suddenly everything was in perspective. I managed to ease out of my job, I put my flat on the rental market and sold my lovely Aston Martin - to the prime minister of Kuwait no less! Although sorry to see the car go, and I still sometimes have separation pangs, it gave me some satisfaction that the new owner would likely have better access to the enormous fuel requirements of that gorgeous V8 engine. All of a sudden my financial motivation was in expenditure reduction rather than increasing income. My new adventure was about to begin, and the music would be made.
Seven years later, my album In Chances of Light has just been released. It has been an incredible time. My life has turned upside-down and the music has found its way out - made with wonderful collaborators and a sizeable personal learning curve. I'm now being described as an artist and a musician - badges I feel happier with than being a CEO. And along the way I have fallen in love and now have another 'production' on the way. A baby.
In these blogs I hope to encapsulate some of the more extraordinary elements of life on the island, of my personal journey, of turning from a 'business' person into an 'artist' person, occasional comment on the world from our unique perspective, and of how it goes with the music...